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San Diego hidden gems

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by GatorBeer, Nov 19, 2012.

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  1. mrelizabeth

    mrelizabeth Jan 22, 2012 California

    Counterpoint. Great burger. Solid lineup of 10 or so taps.

    $1.50 Monday Happy Hour @ The South Park Abbey. Eat at the fish taco truck across the street.

    Distiller's Outlet in Poway. You never know what you might find... also $1-$2 less per bottle on many of my favorites.

    Livewire. I have no idea how this has not become a major San Diego beer bar. 25 years. Great bartenders. No bullshit. Luigi's next door. Eclipse next door (for a little while longer).

    Jake's on 6th. Wine bar. 1/2 off beer bottles on Thursday nights. Pliny. Solid taps (but not many).

    Downtown Johnny Brown's. Great tap list, often very quiet on Sunday evenings after the shows start at the Civic.

    Ritual Tavern. Damn good food. Alpine often on tap.

    Toro. Hardly a hidden gem. But anyplace Islander is pouring... (he's also up at Lost Abbey a few days a week)
    Monkey Paw is no longer a hidden gem. Weekdays 12-5 are pretty mellow, but weekends are packed and noisy. Hammy's has also gotten very loud. I sound like an old man. The old man that I am rapidly becoming. But I like to have a chat when I'm drinking my beers, not listen to metal at 90 decibels.
  2. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Sep 4, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I agree with this on so many levels.
  3. tyrsis

    tyrsis Mar 13, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Seriously. Please walk through Skyline and get back to me
    stawn and Xul like this.
  4. Cerveza

    Cerveza Jun 26, 2012 California

    I shall be headed to San Diego this week to pick up my BA Speedway.

    So far I have ballast point, societe, and alpine for my one day san diego tour.

    Do you guys recommend Ballast Point? It was kind of a throw away choice. I'm considering Aztec Brewing Company instead.
  5. GatorBeer

    GatorBeer Feb 2, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I might go to Green Flash over Ballast Point. The ballast point tasting room is tiny, really just a small room. Green Flash is a massive space in the brewery with a cool outdoor area. Just my 2 cents
    Eriktheipaman likes this.
  6. besaunders

    besaunders Nov 8, 2007 California

    Not piimping out Ballast Point, but since they've expanded their tasting room I would hardly call it tiny. I suspect that you either have not been there in a while, or that maybe you went to their Home Brew Mart store in Linda Vista (which is not their brewery).
  7. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Sep 4, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    How long ago did they expand? I was there maybe 6 months ago and it seemed pretty small. Mostly to the fact that it was about 5pm and was packed full of people.
  8. besaunders

    besaunders Nov 8, 2007 California

    I am pretty sure it was longer ago than that, but they have added a small outdoor patio since then. Imagine it being less than half the size that it was when you visited, though.

    There's a pretty good description of it in here:

  9. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Dec 10, 2011 California

    Check a map brah, Aztec is nowhere near Societe/Alpine.
  10. SageO

    SageO Jul 13, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I'm guessing he's probably coming from LA/OC and so can hit it up along the way.

    Having said that, you have to go kind of far inland for Aztec - I would stick to Ballast Point (you can see what's on tap here), and the Scripps Ranch location definitely isn't that small anymore.
  11. besaunders

    besaunders Nov 8, 2007 California

    I suspect he was considering shooting down 78 and then hitting Alesmith, Societe, and Ballast Point from the the 15.
  12. JustXBeer

    JustXBeer Nov 29, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Start at Ballast Piont head down Miramar to go to White Labs, then to Alesmith, Hess Brewing, Rough Draft then to Wet n Wreckless to Green Flash to English Brewing...
  13. besaunders

    besaunders Nov 8, 2007 California

    Good Lord - you are suggesting this place?
    mrkrispy likes this.
  14. JustXBeer

    JustXBeer Nov 29, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Something to do...I tend to do this on Fridays .
  15. Xul

    Xul May 18, 2008 California

    I'm always confused why people recommend White Labs without the qualification "if you're a homebrewer." If you don't homebrew, White Labs will be mildly interesting, but ultimately not as good as an actual brewery (with a few exceptions, since some breweries are putting out glorified homebrew). Sure, if you're local, go check it out, but anyway who has a finite amount of time and doesn't brew shouldn't have WL at the top of their list.
    Retsinis likes this.
  16. JustXBeer

    JustXBeer Nov 29, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    They do sometimes do a take over the Tap (collaborations ) Right now they have 10+ versions of Alesmiths Wee Heavy...They had Green Flash's Flanders Drive on 4 different yeast...St. Archer's (another Brewery opening up down the street) did a piot batch of their IPA there...
  17. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Dec 10, 2011 California

    White labs makes homebrew. They brew like a homebrewer and their fermentation is sometimes worse. What they're doing is a great idea in concept, but they are not execuiting the idea very well.
  18. Cerveza

    Cerveza Jun 26, 2012 California

    Yeah I am headed from Los Angeles to San diego.

    Are all the Port Brewing/Pizza Port's similar to one another? Which has the biggest tap list?
  19. besaunders

    besaunders Nov 8, 2007 California

    Carlsbad usually does. If you are going to pick one, I'd go with that. Solana Beach is the "original", but is smaller (tap list and size). OB is pretty nice, between the two I'd say in size, but it might not be in your "flight plan".

    I've heard more than a few people say they weren't entirely happy with San Clemente. Never been there myself.
  20. samiller

    samiller May 27, 2007 California

    As someone who doesn't live in SD but visits semi-often, is it too obvious to say that even though it isn't a hidden gem that you should go to Toronado? I love driving around, checking places out etc but Toronado is where I go to just relax & drink Alpine, Societe etc.
  21. HopHead84

    HopHead84 Nov 29, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Live taplists:

  22. bayareahustla

    bayareahustla Jul 13, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    that taco spot right there is ass, dont eat at it.
  23. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes Oct 18, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    This isn't entirely true. In the past some wort has come from Ballast, other collaborating brewers, or been brewed on a (large) brewing sculpture. They also just hired a new headbrewer who has worked as a brewmaster at a number of different craft and larger breweries.

    As I've said elsewhere (and others have pointed out), the beers at WL are specifically designed to be drank in flights to taste the effects of different yeast strains on wort. Sometimes the effects won't be pleasant or desirable (think of these as the equivalent of getting the Siebel Off Flavor Testing Kit for $5/flight instead of $150) whereas others compliment the base beer in surprising, delicious ways.

    Obviously WL is most suited for the homebrewer, but any craft beer fan can take away some education and enjoyment from the experience.
    JustXBeer likes this.
  24. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Dec 10, 2011 California

    Doesn't change that when they brew onsite...they're using 2 completely different brewing methods. A 20gal B3 flat and some sort of euro all-in-one 10gal system. This will produce 2 entirely different worts and they're not blending them together for a unified product before fermentation. Now, if this has changed then please let me know.

    2nd, all the wort is fermented at the same temp, which will not highlight the yeast in the best manner possible if it's being used outside it's desired range. So while a yeast 'may' have good results, per their fermentation process it may be used outside it's desired temp range and thus produce a subpar beer.

    An excellent idea in concept, but cost prohibitive to do it right.

    3rd: they have a long-draw serving system off of 5 gal corny kegs. Just don't get there when it opens else all you'll be drinking is line beer.
  25. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes Oct 18, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    AFAIK wort is either blended or only one is used per style group and there is more emphasis on only fermenting at the same temperature when it makes sense to.

    The operation is not cost prohibitive necessarily, just takes a while to work out the kinks since it's quite different than a normal bar/brewpub. The Tasting Room is still a very new entity afterall.
  26. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Dec 10, 2011 California

    Maybe they've changed the system since I last took a tour at that time there was zero independent fermentation temp control and if they have more than 4 beers under the same name using different yeast they are either using different wort from the two systems, or brewing 2x on teh 20gal B3. There wasn't a blending tank for wort prior to fermentation.
  27. Cerveza

    Cerveza Jun 26, 2012 California

    I just came back from my pilgrimage to beer Mecca, from Los Angeles to San Diego, my experiences as I well... experienced it

    Alpine: It's about a half hour away from San Diego and the main breweries but the drive is beautiful and I believe it's worth it. I had the pulled pork as well as sweet potato fries which were really damn good. The portions were small but it was really well crafted. More importantly the IPA's are probably the best I've ever had and Odin's raven stout was really tasty as well. I was disappointing that they didn't bottle Keane Idea, hoppy birthday and Odin's ravin though. I would highly recommend coming down here.

    Societe: The aesthetic and size of this building are nice, it has a old school bootleggers feel with ample room, very clean. They had 6 beers on tap which were very generic tasting, I didn't find much flavors in the IPA's or Belgian style beers. The tasting's are a dollar a glass though but since it is about 15 minutes away from the main breweries I wouldn't go back

    Ballast Point: Several beers on tap and many variations of their bottled beers. It was packed full of people and had tasting for about 2 dollars and up. The pricing on merchandise is pretty high but the quality of beers is on point. I would recommend this spot for a nice variation on IPA's, stouts, and wheat beers. The Chili, lime, ginger Wahoo was very unique and tasty.

    Alesmith: Probably the most "high end" looking brewery of them all. They have a delicious Vietnamese coffee speedway stout as well as cheap samples of all their beers. Though their system of taking orders seemed a bit scrambled, I can imagine on busy days of it taking a long time to get a pint.

    Green Flash: The biggest brewery of them all, ample space and their system of taking orders is quick and efficient. They offer a lot of one dollar samples with generous portions. Though their beers weren't very flavorful, they did have a Serrano double stout that was tasty. Although it was the most efficient and biggest brewery I might have to avoid this one as well seeing as how the beers were not very good

    Aztec Brewing: The only brewery to offer little snacks like pretzels. It had some pretty decent IPA's as well as stouts. The tastings were generous and cheap though they were served in plastic cups. This place had a lot of people and the workers seemed very new to craft beer. I found it funny that the owner was Caucasian seeing as how it is Aztec themed. It is a bit out of the way from the other breweries but I did find it worth visiting

    Pizza Port Carlsbad: Big space and delicious pizza. The samplers are tiny and one of the workers seemed to have an attitude about things. I can imagine it gets annoying dealing with so many customers but it still was unprofessional. They offer a lot of other breweries beers but you can't taste them so expect to drop 5 dollars on a pint which you may not like. Their beers were decent but I didn't find them worth revisiting.

    That's my long winded post, I got to alpine at 11 and even visited the beach and a mission on the way while I'm back home in LA at 11. I would highly recommend looking at the opening and closing hours as well as drinking tons of water because your palette will be destroyed while your buzz will be high.
  28. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes Oct 18, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Alpine portions too small? [​IMG]
    pinkgrenade likes this.
  29. besaunders

    besaunders Nov 8, 2007 California

    Maybe he's used to the Cheesecake Factory / Claim Jumper portion size.
  30. Cerveza

    Cerveza Jun 26, 2012 California

    I had shared a sandwich with the misses. Don't get me wrong the food is filling and hearty but visually it looks small. I guess I should rewrite it since I was a bit buzzed as I wrote it Mr. Cosby.
  31. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Feb 25, 2008 California

    That is a pretty ambitious schedule. Between Alpine and Aztec is 50+ miles
  32. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Feb 25, 2008 California

    Are you seriously suggesting Wet n Reckless?
  33. drewone

    drewone Sep 18, 2006 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Ate at alpine yesterday and me and my wife both thought the portions seemed smaller, that being said we didn't leave Hungary
  34. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes Oct 18, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    The Hungarian branch is know for skimping on the brisket. Try the original SoCal location and report back. ;)
    sbuysse and sandiego67 like this.
  35. drewone

    drewone Sep 18, 2006 California
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    The funny thing is my dad is Hungarian
  36. HopHead84

    HopHead84 Nov 29, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Shit. Great opp to insert a hilarious .gif ripped from reddit. Chance missed.
  37. grandmeaulnes

    grandmeaulnes Oct 18, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I know you love those gifs! :)
    HopHead84 likes this.
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